The Ministry of Trade and Industry has laid out a new strategy to promote Made-in-Rwanda products.
Dubbed the “Domestic Market Recapturing Strategy,” the plan involves collaborative efforts of the media to boost Made-in-Rwanda campaign.
The new strategy, announced yesterday, identified key potential areas to recapture the domestic market and highlights a series of activities to facilitate the campaign.
Although the role of media in marketing and advertising has at some point been ignored, the Minister for Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba, noted that it’s very important and critical to engage the industry, especially when it comes to public awareness.
This was during a meeting in Kigali bringing together different companies operating in the country.
Kanimba said: “While we are targeting to change the mindset of our people towards consuming locally made products, it’s very critical to value the role of the media in reaching out to all categories of people.”
“Made-in-Rwanda media campaign is among other strategies we are looking at. When we talk of the media campaigns, we are meaning not only the radio stations, televisions, print and online platforms, but also social media such as Twitter, Facebook, among others, we have realised how much we have spent on media consultants to be able to conduct awareness. This is consequently the time to enhance the media content,” he said.
Albert Rudatsimburwa, a media proprietor, in his presentation on strategies and marketing of manufactured products, said branding, competitiveness, and supporting and reinforcing the brand building to the next stage, is crucial, but it should be spearheaded by the media.
Strategy to recupture local market
According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, over the past years, Rwanda has had a consistent external trade deficit, which has contributed to a negative balance of payments situation in the country.
One of the strategies to reduce the trade deficit gap is to promote production and consumption of locally made products.
To identify priority sectors that can quickly contribute to Rwanda’s domestic market recapturing, the ministry conducted a study on “Domestic Market Recapturing Strategy (DMRS)” that was validated in February last year.
The study indicated that the total foreign exchange savings induced by the DMRS could reach almost $450 million per year.
The total potential foreign exchange savings resulting from the DMRS account for 17.8 per cent of the import bill.
Almost one third of this would come from the cement sector. This would reduce Rwanda’s average annual import bill by almost 6 per cent.
The strategy indicated three key potential sectors to recapture the domestic market.
These include construction materials (cement, iron, steel, aluminum products, paints and varnishes) which accounts for $206 million, light manufacturing (textile and garments, pharmaceuticals, soaps and detergents, reagents, packaging materials), which accounts for $124 million, and agro-processing (sugar, fertiliser, edible oil, dried fish, maize, rice), which accounts for $112 million.
Some of the highlighted activities expected to facilitate the implementation of the strategy include a communication campaign, support of local producers through government procurement, designing of national SME, upgrading programme to regroup various overlapping programmes, and upgrading the national infrastructure to ensure quality standard of Made-in-Rwanda products.
The ministry has commissioned a team which will provide technical assistance to anchor firms for domestic marketing recapturing.
According to Kanimba, if Made-in-Rwanda campaign could be understood in a way that people consume more of locally-made products than imports, the country could save up to 18 per cent of what it spends on imports.